See below for MAPS Public Benefit Corporation staff
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master's thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary's Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife, dog, and empty rooms from three children, one of whom is in college and two have graduated.
Ismail L. Ali, J.D., Policy & Advocacy Counsel
Ismail is Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where he advocates to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research, develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and coordinates support for clinical research in Latin America. Ismail is licensed to practice law in the state of California and also serves as Chair of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Board of Directors.
Ismail earned his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2016, after receiving his Bachelor’s in Philosophy from California State University, Fresno, in 2012 where he also studied writing and Spanish-language literature. As a law student, Ismail served as co-lead of Berkeley Law’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Project, and the International Human Rights Law Clinic at Berkeley Law. To first support his work at MAPS, Ismail received Berkeley Law’s Public Interest Fellowship.
Ismail believes that psychedelic consciousness is a crucial piece of challenging oppression in all of its forms, and that legal access to psychedelics is an essential part of a progressive drug policy paradigm. He hopes to help develop and advocate for just, equitable, and creative alternatives to the failed war on drugs.
Ryan Jay Beauregard, Zendo Project Manager
Ryan received his B.A. in psychology from Claremont McKenna College, and spent 10 years mentoring at-risk teens and families through wilderness survival skills and nature connection. His passion for community connection, the environment, and intrapersonal healing continued with his involvement in permaculture, natural building, and ancestral grief rituals. As a volunteer with the Zendo Project since 2013, Ryan has had the opportunity to connect and expand the scope of psychedelic harm reduction in communities and festivals all over the globe. As the Zendo Project Manager, he integrates his skills in psychology, design and and community engagement. When he isn’t on the road with the Zendo Project, Ryan can be found at his home in Boulder, CO enjoying the great outdoors, experimenting with sustainable technology, and designing websites, logos and sacred geometry art.
Aidan Boling, IT and Operations Administrator
Aidan is completing a B.S. in astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz with a special interest in dark matter and the evolution of structure in the universe. She is also fascinated by linguistics and speaks fluent Italian. Aidan has always had an interest in modes of healing for people challenged by certain physical or psychological conditions. From the age of 13 she has served as a volunteer for youth groups engaged in equestrian-assisted therapy programs. She is highly supportive of the great potential and possibilities which could be realized through the research promoted by MAPS, and is thrilled to bring her skills and enthusiasm to the team.
Leslie Booher, J.D., M.B.A., Policy and Advocacy Fellow
Leslie Booher received her bachelor of science (B.S.) in business administration and her master of business administration (MBA) from Southeast Missouri State University, as well as her juris doctor (J.D.) from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Before joining MAPS, Leslie gained litigation experience at large and small law firms, from both the plaintiff and defense sides. Leslie is excited because her work at MAPS combines many of her passions: learning and educating others about our shared human physiology and psychology, striving for social contentment through imaginative socio-economic structures, aspiring for criminal justice reform, and calling attention to the unique role that altered states of perception play in conceptualizing, contextualizing, and coping with our own consciousness.
Kynthia Brunette, Event Volunteer Manager and CRM Systems Specialist
Kynthia comes to MAPS with a B.A. in political science, an M.S. in human computer interaction, and a lifelong interest in models of personality and development. Her interests have evolved over the years into a fascination with the design of institutions, organizations, and experiences that serve as vehicles for transpersonal growth. She became involved with MAPS in late 2009, when she interned in the office during the planning period for "Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century"; since then she has worn a number of hats, and her current focus is the ongoing improvement of our constituent database, so that we can continue to scale our fundraising and education projects to meet the demands of Phase 3. She also still assists with volunteer management at events, and she has been a proud member of the Zendo Project team at Burning Man since 2012. She is honored to have the opportunity to meet and work with so many passionate, intelligent, and creative people, and she looks forward to continuing to support MAPS as it grows.
Brad Burge, Director of Strategic Communications
Brad earned his B.A. in Communication and Psychology from Stanford University in 2005 and his M.A. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego in 2009. He began working with MAPS in 2009, where he engages daily with journalists and media producers around the world to enhance public knowledge about psychedelic research, while also helping develop and evolve MAPS' brand and outreach strategy. Brad is passionate about finding better ways for humans to work with the pharmaceutical and digital communications technologies of the 21st century. When he’s not plugged in, you’ll find him in the mountains, carrying a backpack, somewhere down a long trail.
Merete Christiansen, Associate Director of Development
Merete earned her B.S. in biology at the State University of New York at Geneseo in 2012. While attending Geneseo, and after graduation, Merete cultivated her passion for community organizing and education through participating in student groups, teaching outdoor science, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. Since joining the MAPS team in 2014, Merete has provided administrative, operational, and programmatic support in her roles of Operations Associate and Executive Assistant to Rick Doblin, PhD. As Associate Director of Development, Merete coordinates the work of MAPS’ fundraising team through campaign and program management, grants management and narrative crafting, and supporting the cultivation of major gifts. Merete’s work with MAPS is driven by her belief that all people should have access to the information and tools they need in order to heal themselves.
Sara Gael, M.A., Director of Harm Reduction, Zendo Project
Sara received her master’s degree in transpersonal counseling psychology at Naropa University. She began working with MAPS in 2012, coordinating psychedelic harm reduction services at festivals and events worldwide with the Zendo Project. Sara was an intern therapist for the MAPS Phase 2 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Boulder, CO. She maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in trauma and non-ordinary states of consciousness. Sara believes that developing a comprehensive understanding of psychedelic medicines through research and education is essential for the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and the planet.
Liana Sananda Gillooly, Development Officer
Liana Sananda Gillooly is a lifetime activist for social justice, drug policy reform, ending war, and the environment. Before joining MAPS, Liana worked as Outreach Manager for a prominent cannabis investment and market research firm, The Arcview Group, where she helped grow the accredited investor network, advocated for legalization, and supported the work of Marijuana Policy Project. She has worked in event, festival, and film production, as well as artist representation, art curation, and art creation. She owned a visionary art gallery in Venice Beach, California, called Sananda Gallery. She has produced fundraisers, parties, and art happenings for special events and festivals, including High Times Cannabis Cups, MAPS conferences, Envision Festival, Serenity Festival, and Fractal Planet at Burning Man. She has been a featured speaker at numerous events, lobbied Congress, lectured MBA students, and given a TedX talk. She is an experienced meditator and trained death midwife.
Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, M.S.W., Director of Policy and Advocacy
Natalie is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where she works to disentangle science from political partisanship, and to create safe, equitable and regulated access to psychedelics, and all criminalized substances. She is also partnering with Israeli and Palestinian colleagues to develop a psychedelic peace-building study. Natalie is particularly inspired by psychedelics’ potential to assist in healing intergenerational trauma, for building empathy and community, and for inspiring creative and innovative solutions. Before joining MAPS in 2014, Natalie worked as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical cannabis in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York’s race-based marijuana arrests. Natalie received her B.A. in history from Yale, and her master’s of social work (M.S.W.) from Columbia.
Charleen Justice, Executive Assistant to the Founder and Executive Director
Charleen earned her B.S. in Planning, Public Policy, and Management with a minor in Leadership and Administrative Skills from the University of Oregon. She served as chapter leader for UO Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and volunteered at MAPS events from coast to coast for over two years. As a native Oregonian with the bona-fide spirit of trailblazer, she works diligently to break the cycles of addiction and incarceration set forth by the generations who preceded her. Healing intergenerational trauma and supporting others to do the same, while pushing for policy to create systemic change is a passion of hers. The majority of her time outside of work and advocacy is dedicated to adventuring, building community, crafting/creating, collaborating, learning, family/friends, fostering healing, promoting awareness, strengthening connections, and volunteering.
Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Ph.D., Public Education and Culture Specialist
Dr. Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) is a queer Brazilian anthropologist who immigrated to the U.S. in 2017. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines (http://chacruna.net/), an organization that provides public education about psychedelic plant medicines and promotes a bridge between the ceremonial use of sacred plants and psychedelic science. She is Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, and Visiting Professor at the Center for Research and Post Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Guadalajara. She is also Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She is co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil, and editor of NEIP’s website (http://www.neip.info), as well as editor of the Mexican blog Drugs, Politics, and Culture (http://drogaspoliticacultura.net). She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-one books, one special-edition journal, and several peer-reviewed articles (http://bialabate.net).
Alia Lilienstein, M.D., M.P.H., Medical Director
Alia is a board-certified family medicine physician. She earned her B.A. in American studies from Georgetown University in 2002, where she studied social and cultural influences on health care. Prior to medical school, she earned her Master of Public Health in epidemiology and biostatistics in 2004 from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked in clinical research and development at Chiron (later Novartis). She received her M.D. in 2011 from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and completed residency training in family medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Tufts- and Harvard-affiliated Accountable Care Organization. Before joining MAPS, Alia worked as a primary care doctor in Berkeley. Alia holds a certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research from CIIS in San Francisco. As a family physician, Alia has borne witness to her patients’ struggles with the human condition and the effects these struggles have on their loved ones. She is passionate about helping develop better tools for psychological healing so that everyone may have the opportunity to approach themselves and others with empathy and love.
Kris Lotlikar, Deputy Director
Kris Lotlikar serves as the Deputy Director for MAPS. Kris is an experienced entrepreneur and futurist. Kris founded Renewable Choice and served as President for fifteen years. Renewable Choice was a leading supplier of renewable energy to global corporations and clients included over 150 companies from the Fortune 500. It was awarded Green Power Supplier of the Year four times between 2011 and 2016 by the EPA. Renewable Choice was acquired by Schneider Electric in 2017. Kris has maintained a life-long commitment to drug policy reform since founding Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) twenty-two years ago. SSDP has grown to a UN-recognized NGO with a presence on 300 campuses in 32 countries. Kris has served on the Board of Directors for SSDP, the League of Young Votes, the Flex Your Rights Foundation, and the Arcview Group.
Rudy Maldonado, Community Engagement Associate
Rudy reached his position through persistent volunteering, combined with an open-minded approach to offering MAPS support in any way he saw possible. Before initially volunteering at MAPS, Rudy was a wrestling coach for children and adults. His interest in psychedelic integration formed his direction with MAPS as he brings a mentality of honesty and determination to the team. Psychedelic Science 2017 gave Rudy an opportunity to dive into the field of his passion, which was the jumping point of his career. He fulfills his dream to travel and meet new faces through supporting outreach events and psychedelic groups around the world.
Amy Mastrine, Web and Email Marketing Associate
Amy graduated from Penn State University in 2013 with a B.A. in advertising and a minor in sociology. Amy's exploration of ideas led her to the Institute for Humane Studies, a non-profit at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. At George Mason University, Amy worked on a video project called Learn Liberty while cultivating her skills in marketing and graphic design. Amy's interest in the synthesis of science and mysticism led her to MAPS. Amy loves to create and sell oil paintings, go for long walks, and fire dance.
Bryce Montgomery, Associate Director of Communications and Marketing
Bryce studied film production at West Valley College, where they cultivated an interest in multimedia marketing. Bryce joined MAPS as Social Media Intern in June 2011, bringing their background in film production and social media to public education about psychedelics. Since 2013, Bryce has volunteered with the Zendo Project, providing psychedelic peer counseling and harm reduction for attendees at large-scale events. Bryce's work at MAPS combines all of his passions; ranging from using the internet to reach people worldwide, to creating visually stimulating multimedia projects.
Galina Joyce Peters, Development Associate
Galina began her career in non-profit development ten years ago at the Downtown Women's Center, a center for homeless women in Los Angeles’ Skid Row, and has since worked for Friends of the Los Angeles River, the group behind America's largest urban river cleanup, served as a resident volunteer at Tashirat Orphanage in the remote mountains of Tepoztlán, Mexico, and has become involved with a diverse swath of intersecting social and environmental justice movements as a volunteer, event producer, writer, and fundraiser.
She was first introduced to MAPS at the Psychedelic Science 2013 conference in Oakland, California, where she volunteered to interview attendees about their psychedelic experiences for a short video. Profoundly moved by their stories, her interest in the potential of psychedelics for transformative personal and collective healing soon became a reverent fascination, and she is thrilled to join the MAPS team in service to this vision. She is originally from California and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied English. Galina currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, vocally advocates for abortion access in the South, is a certified yoga instructor, and enjoys live jazz, old books, calligraphy, thrift stores, and river picnics.
Chelsea Rose, M.A., Associate MFT, Harm Reduction Operations Manager
Chelsea Rose graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles Honors College with a B.A. in psychology in 2007, and received her master's degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2012. She has a passion for harm reduction as a therapeutic and practical approach to drug use and abuse prevention. Chelsea also works with DanceSafe, a public health organization, as manager for the reagent testing kit program. Additionally, she supervises the Crisis Response Team in Nevada County, supporting clients who come into the emergency room in psychiatric crisis. She lives in the Sierra foothills of California with her husband Alexandre, who is also involved in harm reduction work, their three children, and their chickens, fish, and kitties.
Renee Rosky, Multimedia Marketing Associate
Renee Rosky incorporates her background in digital media and holistic health care within her work as Multimedia Marketing Associate at MAPS. She is a professionally-trained herbalist and yoga instructor who has a passion for sharing knowledge and supporting others in their healing process. Renee previously helped maintain a local Santa Cruz non-profit that offers free health care for low income communities, as well as providing support with outreach, marketing, and communications. Renee initially started working with MAPS as a contractor by creating engaging videos for MAPS' website, social media, and emails during the 2017 year-end fundraising campaign, Legalize Psychedelic Medicine. By infusing her passion for wellness and multimedia production, Renee creates content with the potential to empower personal and social change.
Tess Marin Shelley, Development Specialist
Tess graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2011 with a B.A. in psychology. While there, she worked in newspaper production and design at City on a Hill Press, where she was first introduced to MAPS’ work. Tess is working toward her M.A. in health economics and pharmacoeconomics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She has recently returned to California after two years in the Fiji Islands. She lives in West Marin, where she enjoys spending time with her family, bird watching, and spoiling her cat.
Jade Netanya Ullmann, Major Gifts Officer and Connector
Jade Netanya Ullmann is a seasoned fundraiser, philanthropist, activist, and community organizer. She is the former executive director of Romemu, a progressive Jewish spiritual community in New York City. Jade is an ambassador for the Social Venture Network, a nonprofit network of business leaders committed to justice and sustainability, as well as a member of the Threshold Foundation, which is dedicated to mobilizing financial resources to change the world. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Romemu, as well as ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and on the Advisory Board of Bernie Glassman’s Zen Peacemaker Order. She received her B.A. in contemplative psychology from Naropa University, where she was the campus organizer of Students for a Free Tibet. She began working with MAPS in early 2015 to expand the organization’s community visibility, and has since joined the staff as Major Gifts Officer and Connector. Jade is enthusiastic about inspiring others to recognize and support the visionary research and healing work of MAPS. She lives in New York City, where she was born and raised.
Jenni Vierra, Manager of Events and Community Engagement
Jenni graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in psychology and with a focus in peace and liberation studies. Jenni has always had an interest in the effects of psychedelics for individual and social healing and is grateful to work in this field, one in which she is passionate. Prior to working for MAPS, Jenni was an enthusiastic volunteer for the organization. As Manager of Events and Community Engagement, she manages the MAPS Store and sales ventures, coordinates outreach events and efforts, and oversees the spread of knowledge of the organization's work worldwide.
Whitney Wilhelmy, Communications and Marketing Assistant
While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley, Whitney explored her passions for cognitive neuroscience, scientific approaches to consciousness, drug policy reform, and psychedelic research. For years, it has been her dream to professionally support the progress of psychedelic science and contribute to the expansion of effective healing modalities in a society deprived of mental health resources. Whitney has been providing psychedelic peer support with the Zendo Project since 2017, and her intention is to eventually pursue further education in the realm of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., Deputy Director and Head of Research Development and Regulatory Affairs
Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., is the Deputy Director and Head of Research Development and Regulatory Affairs of the 501(c)(3) non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Dr. Yazar-Klosinski is responsible for development of strategic, catalytic, and capacity-building activities to facilitate research on the risk/benefit profile of psychedelics in compliance with the global regulatory landscape. She has been actively involved in the various stages of nonclinical and clinical development of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, LSD-assisted psychotherapy, cannabis, and ibogaine.
After gaining experience in clinical research laboratories with Geron Corporation and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Yazar-Klosinski joined MAPS in 2009 to work with an organization where profit wouldn't dictate the agenda of scientific research. Over the last 10 years, she has supported MAPS clinical research and regulatory affairs through all stages of growth. Dr. Yazar-Klosinski has developed a strong track record of success with FDA, state regulatory agencies and multiple regulatory agencies outside of the USA.
Dr. Yazar-Klosinski earned her B.S. in biology with a minor in drama from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in molecular, cell, and developmental biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010. She is a Turkish hunter-gatherer who is supporting the growth of her family and pets in harmony with the natural world as she works tirelessly to transform the future.
MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC)
Amy Emerson, Executive Director (MAPS PBC)
Amy Emerson is the Executive Director at the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit. As the Executive Director, Amy has lead the growth and development of this new subsidiary and is responsible for overall global regulatory strategy and implementation of research programs with a focus on the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy program within MAPS PBC.
Amy started as a pro bono consultant at MAPS in 2003, and since then has built MAPS’ clinical department while managing the MDMA Clinical Development Program with a focus on the PTSD indication. In 2014, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation was incorporated to focus on psychedelic drug development, therapist training programs, and future sales of prescription psychedelics prioritizing public benefit above profit.
Amy brings decades of pharmaceutical development and research experience in Phase 1 through Phase 3 Randomized Controlled Trials including supporting three successful regulatory approvals for new biologics. Her professional experience at Novartis, Chiron and other pharmaceutical companies (1993-2009) spans various fields including immunology, oncology and vaccines. Pursuing her love of science and nature cultivated while growing up in the woods of Alaska she earned her B.S. in genetics and cell biology from Washington State University in 1992 to prepare for a career in research. Amy is passionate about being a mother and the work of bringing the potential of psychedelics for healing further into the consciousness of the world, leaving a better world for the following generations. She has a lifelong love of travel, living abroad with her husband, exploring in nature and cooking with her family.
Ana LaDou, Chief Operations Officer (MAPS PBC)
Ana LaDou serves as the Chief Operations Officer for MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC). Ana is a dynamic leader and creative strategist who nurtures leaders, mobilizes teams, and develops strategic processes that result in stronger, scalable organizations. Ana specializes in leadership: providing it, supporting it, and developing it. She has worked on projects with local, national, and international reach where her ability to design straightforward strategies and gain consensus among the Board of Directors and outside stakeholders consistently results in innovative solutions and meaningful community impact. She graduated from Columbia University in New York, launched her career in marketing at Miramax Films, and maintains her ties to the industry. Her strengths in relationship building and collaborative leadership ensure ongoing support for the organization and meaningful change in their community. She is committed to her vipassana mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) practices, and engaging Boards of Directors and executive leaders in deeper conversations and actions to address current cultural challenges.
Rebecca Matthews, Director and Head of Clinical Operations (MAPS PBC)
Rebecca Matthews is the Director and Head of Clinical Operations at the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Rebecca is leading the Clinical Operations teams in conducting clinical trials around the globe in all indications and clinical programs supported by MAPS PBC and MAPS.
Rebecca began consulting with MAPS in 2009 and joined MAPS PBC full-time in 2015. Prior to her work at MAPS and MAPS PBC she worked in clinical research and development at Chiron/Novartis starting in 2001 with a focus in the indications of sepsis and vaccines.
Rebecca is drawn to the field of research and drug development to support the advancement of healthcare and to provide novel and improved treatments for the benefit of humankind. She is deeply passionate about this amazing journey and honored to be on the forefront of psychedelic medicine research. Rebecca earned her B.A. from UC Berkeley in 2000.
She resides in Northern California alongside her husband, two daughters and the family labradoodle and can be found starting impromptu dance parties, enjoying delicious tacos and playing in nature with family and friends.
Shannon Clare Carlin, M.A., A.M.F.T., Director and Head of Training and Supervision (MAPS PBC)
Shannon Carlin, M.A., AMFT, is the Director and Head of Training and Supervision at the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit. As the Director of Training and Supervision, Shannon oversees the development and implementation of the programs that provide training and supervision to prepare mental health and medical professionals to deliver MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in approved clinical settings. Shannon started working with MAPS in 2011 before joining MAPS PBC in 2016.
In her dedication to supporting people through growth and healing, Shannon has served as a co-therapist on MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 trials researching MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for severe PTSD. Shannon’s direct clinical work continues to inform the development and implementation of the training programs she oversees.
Shannon’s previous professional experience includes the development of community programs delivering resources, services, training, and support for healthy living, life skills, employment, and positive youth development. Her work has served adults with schizophrenia, bipolar, and substance use disorder, families and youth in a low-income residential setting, and high school students learning about moderation management of drug and alcohol use. In her lifelong commitment to address homelessness, Shannon volunteers with housing projects and shelters and completed a farm internship with the Homeless Garden Project.
Shannon received her master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. An adventurer at heart, Shannon can be found in nature, backpacking, running, and dancing. She celebrates and cultivates relationship and community and is passionate about life, love, and thriving.
Ritika Aggarwal, B.A., Executive Support and Operations Coordinator (MAPS PBC)
Ritika Aggarwal earned her B.A. in feminist studies and psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. While in Santa Cruz, she founded and co-directed the local chapter of NORML/Students for Sensible Drug Policy and worked with the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. For the past ten years, she has been as a legal advocate for people incarcerated in California prisons, helping to secure the release of over 100 people with life sentences. She is currently the MAPS PBC Executive Support and Operations Coordinator.
Valerie Ahanonu, B.S., Clinical Program Operations Manager
Valerie Ahanonu is the Clinical Program Operations Manager at the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), leading the Pilot, Investigator Initiated and Expanded Access trials Clinical Operations teams in the successful growth and execution of MAPS PBC non phase 3 clinical programs.
Prior to joining the MAPS PBC team, Valerie worked as a Sr. Clinical Trial Manager leading global oncology trials in multiple indications and phases (Solid Tumor – Phase I, II; Lymphoma – Phase II; Leukemia – Phase I, II, III, Extension/Compassionate Use, Phase I-II Investigator Sponsored Trials, Pharmacodynamic/ADME, Expanded Access). Throughout Valerie’s career she was able to participate in all aspects of the clinical trial process including global study submissions and global team management, FDA inspection and IND/NDA submissions, as well as operational process and team development.
Valerie received her B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Utah in 2009, where she discovered and explored the intricacies of the mind-body connection. Her love for helping people and discovering what makes them tick along with her interest in spiritual growth exploration bolster her passion for clinical research and exploring the soul changing power of psychedelic therapeutics. Valerie is excited to further the mission she shares with MAPS and continue moving the needle on more natural and effective mental health treatments that keep the whole person in mind leading to the positive rippling impact we all hope to see in this world!In her spare time, she enjoys karaoke, gallivanting about the globe with her husband, belly laughing with her family and friends, shaking it like a polaroid picture, gummy bears, skateboarding, French bulldogs and a good TV series with a glass of wine. .
Roman Alcocer, B.S., Document Control Specialist (MAPS PBC)
Roman earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics in 2017 from University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Roman worked as an admissions evaluator at UC Santa Cruz, as a naturalist in Point Reyes National Seashore, and as a customer success manager at ProductPlan, a product management software startup.
At MAPS PBC, Roman is currently serving as Document Control Specialist, supporting Clinical Systems with quality control of auditable document filing, data management, and documentation development. He is passionate about establishing a safe and legal framework for society to benefit from the skillful use of psychedelics. Roman loves being in nature with friends, searching for the perfect vegan burrito, and spending time with a good book.
Alexis Archie, Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Alexis Archie earned her bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences in 2015 from The Ohio State University. As an undergraduate student, she developed an interest in addictions sciences and in women’s studies. Following graduation, Alexis began working as a Clinical Research Associate for a contract research organization (CRO) where she was primarily responsible for unblinded and musculoskeletal studies. While working as a monitor, Alexis decided to pursue additional training at Ohio State University through the Master of Applied Clinical and Pre-Clinical Research Program where she specialized in clinical research management. Alexis is thrilled to apply her experience to psychiatry studies with MAPS PBC as a Clinical Research Associate working on the Phase 3 MDMA study for PTSD patients. Alexis is proud to support MAPS and MAPS PBC and its patients in the mission to ensure access to treatment for an underserved population. In Alexis’ free time, she enjoys yoga, swimming, reading, and playing the viola.
Jamelia Avalos, Finance and Human Resources Assistant
Jamelia Avalos joined the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC) from the investment banking industry where she worked with Deutsche Bank Investment Banking Company, one of the world's leading financial service providers, for over 10 years. She brings over 14 years of experience in senior executive sales coordination, human resources, marketing and roadshow execution. Prior to MPBC, she worked as a roadshow/marketing coordinator where she coordinated and executed U.S. Equity Non-Deal Roadshow for Deutsch Bank's entire West Coast region. Prior to that, Jamelia was the Senior Executive Sales Coordinator for major investment banking companies in San Francisco and New York.
At MPBC, Jamelia is currently serving as the Finance and Human Resources Assistant, reporting to the Finance and Human Resources Specialist. She will be involved with the human resources functions for both MPBC and MAPS, focusing on all things related to human resources for both organizations.
Jamelia is thrilled to be doing meaningful work at MAPS/MPBC and is excited that there is a part for her to play in helping to advance the mission. Jamelia is originally from Connecticut and attended Long Island University, where she studied science. Jamelia currently lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter. In her free time, she enjoys going to the movies, planning parties, traveling with her husband, cooking, crafting, and playing soccer with her little girl.
Maryann Böger, Clinical Systems and Quality Manager (MAPS PBC)
Maryann brings 15 years of clinical research management experience in conducting international trials to MAPS PBC. She is skilled in strategy development and execution of U.S. and E.U.-regulated trials, both pre- and post-market. Maryann gained strong background in requirements for analyses and reporting of safety and compliance worldwide through her work at Stanford University Hospital, Guidant, and Abbott Labs. In her spare time, Maryann is an avid cyclist and foodie.
Atasha Bozorgzad, Clinical Operations Administration Assistant (MAPS PBC)
Atasha Bozorgzad earned her bachelor of science degree in health education in 2017 from San Francisco State University. Prior to joining the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and/or MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), Atasha worked as a chiropractic assistant. Atasha also worked in Melbourne, Australia, as Central Appointments Officer for the Australian Defense Force. She was the first point of contact for Defense Force Members and managed their healthcare needs.
At MPBC, Atasha is currently serving as Clinical Operations Administration Assistant, providing support for the director and manager of the clinical operations team.
Atasha is passionate about alternative medicines that promote well-being and wholeness. She is thrilled to be a part of the work that MPBC is doing.
Atasha believes that we all have an internal force that stems from love and can heal humanity as a collective. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, writing, running, traveling, teaching and practicing yoga.
Meghan Brown, B.A., Senior Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Meghan became a registered nurse in 2004 and earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2010 from Liberty University. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), she worked as Clinical Research Associate/Monitor at a large CRO where she worked on multiple pain and oncology studies. Meghan also worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on protocol development as a study coordinator and project manager. At MAPS PBC, Meghan is currently serving as Senior Clinical Research Associate, working on Phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) studies. It is Meghan’s hope that her contributions to the MAPS PBC team will help facilitate the research and subsequent FDA approval of psychedelics for patients who can truly benefit from them.
Krystel Cohn, IMP Supply Manager (MAPS PBC)
Krystel is a dedicated clinical research professional with over ten years of academic and pharmaceutical research experience. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Krystel has held many research-supporting roles including Clinical Research Assistant, Clinical Research Associate, and Associate Project Manager. She also worked as a Clinical Project Manager leading both pharmaceutical and investigator-initiated oncology, oncology supportive care and cardiac clinical trials at Clinical Assistance Programs and Harvard Clinical Research Institute. Most recently, she worked as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator managing gastroenterology trials at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center.
At MAPS PBC, Krystel is currently serving as IMP Supply Manager supporting the forecasting, manufacturing, and shipping of clinical and commercial drug supplies. Krystel is passionate about bringing increased awareness to mental health disorders, specifically anxiety, depression, and addiction. She joined MAPS PBC because she strongly believes expanding treatment options for patients suffering with these and other mental health disorders is vital and can only be done through ethical and innovative research. She is excited to be contributing to the ongoing research lead by MAPS PBC. In her free time, Krystel enjoys reading fantasy and science-fiction novels, trying new restaurants, and taking hikes with her husband and dog. She is also an avid music fan and loves curating playlists and attending live concerts and music festivals.
Allison Coker, Ph.D., Regulatory Affairs Specialist (MAPS PBC)
Allison Coker, Ph.D., was trained as a neuroscientist with a multidisciplinary background in behavioral pharmacology studying motivation, addiction, and stress across diverse research methodologies in both preclinical and clinical research settings. She earned a bachelor's degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology from Emory University and a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Prior to joining MAPS PBC, Dr. Coker worked as a program manager coordinating a UCSF research consortium focused on conducting translational and clinical research to develop novel treatment strategies for drug and alcohol abuse and PTSD. In this role, she developed a broad skillset in clinical research management, regulatory compliance, and program administration. Dr. Coker is excited to join the Department of Research Development and Regulatory Affairs and have the opportunity to utilize her experience to aid in the mission of MAPS PBC as Regulatory Affairs Specialist supporting the regulatory compliance of the MAPS research and clinical portfolio and the development of a centralized regulatory operations team.
Corine de Boer, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Safety (MAPS PBC)
Corine de Boer, M.D., Ph.D. is the Head of Safety at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation. She received her medical degree from Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and completed residency and fellowship training in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology. Her Ph.D. was focused on peritoneal dialysis in children, and she joined the academic staff at the Radboud University after completing her training.
Before moving to the United States in 2000, she worked as a Pediatrician in the largest inner-city hospital (OLVG) in Amsterdam where she was responsible for in- and outpatient care in a multi-racial patient group including sickle-cell disease, thalassemia, and AIDS.
For the last 20 years, she has contributed to the development of meningococcal and hepatitis vaccines during her tenure at GSK vaccines (formerly Novartis Vaccines and Chiron Corporation) and Dynavax prior to starting her own consulting company where she provides strategic advice and support for a variety of clients working on biologics, small molecule/polymer therapeutics and vaccines.
She feels very fortunate to formally join the MAPS team after assisting them previously in the development of the Pediatric Plans for MDMA. The opportunity that psychedelics provide in the treatment of PTSD and other indications is an exciting scientific field where she feels honored to play a small part in.
Corine resides in beautiful Port Townsend, WA, with her husband and her Jack Russell Terrier where she can be found roaming the beaches, making (wearable) recycled art, and messing around in rowing shells and other boats.
Autumn Davidson, Executive Assistant to the Chief Operations Officer (MAPS PBC)
Autumn Davidson is the Executive Assistant to the Chief Operations Officer at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC). Autumn has always been passionate about the legal system and politics, and received her bachelor of arts degree in political science with a focus on leadership and civic engagement at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She continues to serve this passion by being active in politics and regularly volunteering for local, state, and national campaigns. Autumn has served as the executive assistant to c-suite leaders and has a history of success in fast-paced, grey market regulatory environments. She is a plant medicine advocate and believes that advocacy and education are critical components to the legalization of psychedelic medicines, and that compassion and consciousness should be the cornerstones of the shifts in mindset taking place in these areas.
Melissa Field, B.B.A., Clinical Trial Leader (MAPS PBC)
Melissa Field earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2010 from Baker University, while working as an in-house clinical research associate for a contract research organization (CRO). After earning her degree and gaining CRO experience, Melissa moved to expand her career in a clinical research site setting where she spent several years working at an NCI-designated cancer center. Under her direction of the center’s regulatory affairs department, she spear-headed successful process efficiencies, cross-department project collaborations, and team development/training initiatives for the center’s Industry, Investigator-Sponsored, and national consortium research projects.
At MAPS PBC, Melissa is currently serving as Clinical Trial Leader, focusing on MDMA research in MAPS-sponsored pilot program studies. She contributes a passionate drive in the common goal for the benefit of psychedelics and cannabis in our society. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys cycling, hiking, yoga, and meditation.
Gabrielle Fortier, M.P.H., Clinical Program Project Manager (MAPS PBC)
Gabby is a Clinical Research Associate who joins the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) research team at an exciting time as their clinical trials program continues to grow. Gabby earned her B.A. in international relations from Boston University in 2013. While an undergraduate at BU, Gabby worked part-time as a research assistant at the Slone Epidemiology Center where she supported numerous birth-defect and post-market vaccine surveillance studies. After graduating, Gabby decided she wanted to continue her research career and became a full-time employee at Slone while pursuing her master’s in Public Health in the evening hours. Gabby earned her M.P.H. from BU in 2015 after completing her research practicum evaluating the community health system in Kenya. More recently, Gabby worked at a major contract research organization where she supported a number of high-profile Phase 1, 2, and 3 pharmaceutical trials. Gabby is excited to bring her experience and passion for clinical research and public health to MAPS PBC!
Angelica Garcia, B.S., Training Coordinator
Angelica earned a B.S. in molecular environmental biology and a B.A. in anthropology in 2013 from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Angelica worked as a research associate at a clinical biotech company where she assisted in research on gene/protein therapies and provided support to the pharmacology group. She also worked in a CLIA/CAP laboratory at a cancer diagnostics company isolating tumor cells containing specific biomarkers. While living at the Berkeley Student Cooperative, Angelica was the elected health worker for her 60-person co-op where she spoke to students about mental health resources, hosted consent and harm reduction workshops, and organized talks on alternative medicines.
At MAPS PBC, Angelica is currently serving as a Training Coordinator for the MDMA Therapy Training Program, focusing on supporting trainees in their progress through the program. Angelica is interested in the potential benefits of expanded states of consciousness and how transformative experiences can be utilized for therapeutic purposes. She is passionate about making psychedelic medicine inclusive and accessible to all, especially people of color and those who have been historically underrepresented in clinical research. In her free time, Angelica loves dancing, drinking tea, going to the beach, and playing deck-building card games.
Hailey Gilmore, Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Hailey is a graduate of UC Berkeley (Double Bear - B.A. Development Studies, M.P.H. Epidemiology & Biostatistics) and Bay Area expat currently residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Prior to joining MPBC, Hailey coordinated HIV prevention and treatment clinical trials for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the University of California San Francisco in the U.S., South Africa, Brazil, and Malawi, for over a decade.
At MPBC, Hailey is currently serving as a Clinical Research Associate for Investigator Initiated Trials. After contributing to work on groundbreaking technologies such as HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV Self-Testing (HIVST), Hailey is thrilled to once again be working on paradigm-shifting science at MAPS/MPBC. In her free time, she can be found hiking/kayaking/climbing the Northern NM wilderness with her pup, Shantaram, reading a book while sipping a good pinot, seeing live music, or converting friends to vegetarianism with a delicious creation.
Zac Goldberg, B.S., Clinical Systems and Data Specialist (MAPS PBC)
Zac earned a bachelor’s degree in cognitive science with a specialization in neuroscience in 2017 from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Zac worked as a research assistant at the Perception and Cognition Lab where he recruited participants for visual and auditory perception and memory experiments, in addition to cleaning and analyzing data from the studies.
At MAPS PBC, Zac is currently serving as a Clinical Systems and Data Specialist, focusing on file management, system administration, regulatory document creation, and general organizational work. Zac oversees the electronic trial master file system and assists the Clinical Research Associates with their work. He is passionate about helping make MDMA and other psychedelics a viable option to treat mental illness. In Zac’s free time, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and playing ultimate frisbee and disc golf.
Wesley Hale, M.S., Training Coordinator (MAPS PBC)
In 2017, Wesley Hale moved to San Francisco to pursue his master’s degree in organizational psychology at San Francisco State University. Wesley has been a graduate research assistant in the Health and Organizational Psychology Lab, Workforce Technology Research Lab, and Employee Selection and Retention Lab. Prior to joining MAPS PBC, Wesley was an assistant business psychologist at a game-based assessment company and has gained experience working in the education field. He taught children with autism spectrum disorders and went on to teach a variety of subjects in the Orange County Public School District. Before moving to San Francisco, he spent two summers in China as a guest lecturer at Xi’an Jiaotong University.
Wesley is deeply passionate about the potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness for healing and growth and the importance of education and training for helping individuals effectively utilize these states. Wesley has served as a volunteer at the MAPS office, fundraising dinners, and tabling events. He has also been a volunteer for the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at CIIS. Wesley enjoys tea, meditation, and music from around the world.
Charlotte Harrison, B.S., Clinical Program Manager (MAPS PBC)
Charlotte Harrison is an experienced clinical research professional who is thrilled to be contributing to psychedelic research at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation. Prior to joining MAPS PBC, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin in 2012 from Tufts University while pursuing pre-medical studies. After an exciting internship working on oncology trials at Clinical Assistance Programs (CAP), she decided her skills were better suited to clinical research. She monitored and managed clinical trials in supportive cancer care, nephrology, dermatology, and cardiology at CAP, MedTrials, and Harvard Clinical Research Institute.
At MAPS PBC, Charlotte is currently serving as a Clinical Program Manager, supporting the management of MDMA and marijuana studies. She supports, trains, and monitors multiple sites, ensuring quality research and compliance. She is hopeful that her passion for improving the quality of life for those suffering with mental illness and determination to make scientific research more efficient will be beneficial to MAPS’ important and necessary work. In her free time, Charlotte can be found doing yoga, snuggling her cats, or playing board games late into the night.
Richard Hartnell, B.S., CMC and Project Management Assistant (MAPS PBC)
Richard Hartnell came to the world of psychedelic research first as an entertainer throughout the international psychedelic community, and later as a student of cognitive neuroscience at the University of California, Santa Cruz. As a student, he was named a "21st Century Da Vinci Scholar" for his exceptional cross-disciplinary academic work on issues balanced on the seam between the body and the personality: psychopharmacology, embodied cognition, flow states, and UCSC's first forays into neuroimaging. He concurrently spent time co-coordinating the interdisciplinary Brain, Mind, Consciousness Society and an award-winning chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). A holist and autodidact fascinated by the interconnection of various fields of knowledge, Richard also engages in peripheral studies that branch mycelially through music, movement, philosophy, economics, computer science, mysticism, and culinary arts.
Prior to joining MAPS PBC, Richard spent two years on SSDP's Board of Directors and a stint in California's sprouting cannabis testing industry, after which he was invited to join MAPS PBC to help its CMC and Project Management department with its growing stacks of regulatory logistics. His favorite psychedelic topics at the moment are the increasing diversity of the US psychedelic community, the revival of European psychedelic folk religions as an alternative to Latin American drug tourism, prevalence and circumvention of pseudoscience in psychedelic culture, contingency planning for any future psychedelic backlash, and expansion of the present-day legal use of psychedelics (e.g. Santo Daime & the UDV) as personal sacrament.
Libby Heimler, Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Libby is a committed research professional with a background in adult and pediatric oncology. Prior to beginning her career, she studied psychological science and religious studies at Albion College, where she received a rich and rigorous education in research design and ancient Jewish scripture. Prior positions included work on studies at Karmanos Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital Oakland, and Genentech. After working as the Study Coordinator for a MAPS study, she joined the MAPS staff as a Clinical Research Associate. Libby is passionate about research ethics and innovations in mental health treatment, and is delighted to be a part of this dynamic team working to improve both of those things. In her free time, she can be found sewing her own clothes and quilts, knitting more hats than anyone needs, cooking, hiking, and traveling.
Colin Hennigan, M.A., Clinical Data Manager (MAPS PBC)
Colin brings a background in research design methodology and database management to MAPS. He earned his B.A. in political science at the University of Chicago, with an emphasis in social theory and philosophy of science, and his M.A. in political science at University of California, Davis, where his graduate work focused on state sovereignty and international systems theory. Prior to joining MAPS, he worked as a research analyst with the Genetic Disease Screening Program at the California Department of Public Health, as a freelance technical writer, and as a private mathematics instructor. He is currently working with the MAPS Clinical Team on the creation of an online clinical database and the implementation of the Therapist Adherence Program.
Ryan Hudgins, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis (MAPS PBC)
Ryan Hudgins earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and entrepreneurial management from the University of Iowa in 2009. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Ryan held a variety of corporate strategy roles in the financial services industry where he developed a knack for executing process improvement initiatives and creative reporting optimization.
At MAPS PBC, Ryan is currently serving as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis, focusing on leading budgeting and forecasting cycles, modeling financial and operational analytics, and developing metrics to evaluate and direct business performance. Ryan is committed to exploring the significant role psychedelic drug development will play in addressing mental health issues around the world. Ryan joined MAPS PBC in order to enhance business intelligence tools to support strategic imperatives for the organization.
L. (Ilsa) Jerome, Ph.D., Medical Coder and Data Analyst (MAPS PBC)
L. (Ilsa) Jerome earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Maryland in 1999, with an interest in social cognition. Inside and beyond formal education, Jerome immersed herself in literature on psychopharmacology and what would soon become affective and social neuroscience. Ilsa was a member of the team that developed the initial 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) Investigator’s Brochure. Jerome was the Clinical Research and Information Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). At MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Jerome has retained the title, focusing on archiving, communicating and sharing information about studies into the effects, risks and benefits of MAPS’ primary study drugs, particularly MDMA and classic psychedelics. Seeking, understanding and communicating scientific information has been at the core of this role, while the details have changed. As clinical research and information specialist, Jerome has collected and summarized research as part of designing and developing the Investigator’s Brochure and Phase 2 studies. She has assisted in the revision and management of Psychedelic Bibliography scope and content, supported and communicated with medical monitors, and communicated with researchers within and outside of MAPS and sending findings into the world as published reports. She believes in the necessity of interpreting and sharing research knowledge that will best help MAPS PBC produce transparent, thorough and honest documents and reports, and that spotting good questions is as important as knowing good answers. Ilsa is fascinated by sound and music, and fragrance and olfaction. She spent a couple of years as a DJ at a university radio station, but remains emphatically unhip.
McKenna Leighton, Clinical Study Assistant (MAPS PBC)
McKenna earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) in 2019. Prior to joining MAPS PBC, McKenna worked in UX Design for the Genomics Institute BRCA Exchange, a curated database for all publicly available data on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast-cancer associated gene variants. She also researched genomic ecology and biotechnology with the UCSC Paleogenomics Lab. When McKenna wasn’t working in genomics, she designed and taught undergraduate courses with the Brain, Mind, Consciousness Society at UC Santa Cruz. McKenna’s passion is to understand and to interfere accordingly the mechanisms by which socio-political power structures are reproduced in and through bodies on a psychological and physiological level in order to heal cycles of violence, poverty, and neglect. For years she has dreamed of working with the MAPS clinical team to legalize and legitimize psychedelic medicines, and she is passionate about ensuring access to the most vulnerable populations. In her free time, McKenna coorganizes an educational and sanctuary space at the festival Stoke the World. She loves dance, yoga, radical sxsterhood, cooperative living, and French philosophy.
Jess Lin, M.P.H., Adherence and Supervision Program Manager (MAPS PBC)
Jess Lin, M.P.H., is the Adherence and Supervision Program Manager at the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), where she works to support development of systems and infrastructure for the oversight of therapists in the delivery of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in MAPS protocols.
Prior to joining MAPS PBC, Jess led public health research and intervention programs in public, academic, and not-for-profit settings, including at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Her work has included projects to identify health needs and protective factors amongst an international cohort of trans women, conduct advocacy and policy work with youth experiencing homelessness, and support harm reduction services for people who inject drugs. Jess received a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Comparative Literature from Brown University in 2005 and a master’s in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010.
Jess is deeply committed to strengthening the ties between science and love. She is honored to be working with the MAPS PBC team in service of individual and collective wellness and liberation. She is a steadfast friend, avid reader, ecstatic dancer, and cat whisperer.
Joselyn Lindgren, M.S., Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Joselyn earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1990 from the University of California Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science in 1997 from San Jose State University. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Joselyn worked as a staff research associate in a neuroimaging lab at San Francisco Veterans Affairs. Here she supported large observational studies on Gulf War Illness, HIV, Alcohol, PTSD and Alzheimer’s. Next Joselyn worked at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institution where she managed all clinical related activities for several Phase II oncology trials. Joselyn most recently worked at Kaiser Permanente, supporting Phase 2-3 trials with expertise in regulatory documents. At MAPS PBC, Joselyn is currently serving as a Clinic Research Associate supporting ongoing clinical trials using MDMA-assisted therapy to treat PTSD.
Joselyn is committed to helping to find long-term permanent solutions for debilitating mental health disorders and is excited to be a part of this transformative movement that MAPS/MAPS PBC has created with psychedelic research.
In Joselyn’s free time, she enjoys cooking, dancing, reading, and power walks.
Clara Lindley, Clinical Systems Intern (MAPS PBC)
Clara graduated from Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, CA in 2019. Before joining MAPS in Spring 2020, she spent time abroad in Hamburg, Germany interning at the University Clinic Hamburg where she worked as a nursing assistant caring for patients ranging from new mothers to highly palliative cancer patients. In the fall, she plans to attend the University of Utah, studying Biology. As an intern, she is excited to support MAPS and its goal to help those suffering from PTSD. In her spare time, Clara enjoys running, being outdoors, reading, and playing the piano.
Alyssa McNamara, Clinical Study Assistant (MAPS PBC)
Alyssa McNamara earned a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with a minor in bioinformatics in 2017 from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Alyssa worked as a research associate in the field of immuno-oncology, where she helped to research and develop therapeutics to treat ovarian cancer. Alyssa also worked in the field of neurodevelopment, where she studied transcription factors and mechanisms of action implicated in autism spectrum disorders. At MAPS PBC, Alyssa is currently serving as a Clinical Study Assistant, supporting the Clinical Operations team. She is excited to join the dedicated and enthusiastic team at MAPS PBC. Alyssa joined MAPS PBC to help make an impact in the lives of people suffering around the world. She strives to help improve the standard of care for mental illness and neurological disorders. In Alyssa’s free time, she enjoys running and geocaching with her family.
Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., Sub-Investigator, MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD (MAPS PBC)
Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., is a Registered Nurse living in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is now focused primarily on training and supervising therapists conducting MAPS-sponsored clinical trials, as well as continuing to conduct some MAPS research sessions in Charleston, South Carolina. Between 2004 and 2018, she and her husband, Michael Mithoefer, M.D., completed two of the six MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trials testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, as well a study providing MDMA-assisted sessions for therapists who have completed the MAPS Therapist Training, and a pilot study treating couples with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy combined with Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy. Annie is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner, is trained in Hakomi Therapy, and has 25 years experience working with trauma patients, with an emphasis on experiential approaches to psychotherapy.
Michael Mithoefer, M.D., Senior Medical Director for Medical Affairs, Training and Supervision (MAPS PBC)
Michael Mithoefer, M.D., is a psychiatrist living in Asheville, NC, with a research office in Charleston, SC. In 2000, he began collaborating with MAPS on the first U.S. Phase 2 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. He and his wife Annie have since conducted two of the six MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 clinical trials testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, as well a study providing MDMA-assisted sessions for therapists who have completed the MAPS-sponsored MDMA Therapy Training Program, and a pilot study treating couples with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy combined with Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy. He is now Senior Medical Director for Medical Affairs, Training and Supervision at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC). He is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator, is trained in EMDR and Internal Family Systems Therapy, and has nearly 30 years of experience treating trauma patients. Before going into psychiatry in 1991, he practiced emergency medicine for ten years, served as medical director of the Charleston County and Georgetown County Emergency Departments, and has held clinical faculty positions at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has been board-certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and Internal Medicine.
Jay Nair, Ph.D., P.M.P., Senior Director, CMC (MAPS PBC)
Jay Nair, Ph.D., P.M.P., comes to us with over 30 years of expertise in chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) executive management in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. Over his career, he has worked at companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), Baxter, Teva, and Cephalon. Since his position as Executive Director at BMS, he has been a management consultant in the areas of CMC, Regulatory and Project Management. He also consulted for private equity companies as a global due diligence expert, analyzing the FDA exposure and assessing the risk of target companies and their therapeutic assets. His clients included Pfizer, McKinsey & Co., Accenture, Capital Group of companies etc. Jay obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Analysis from Boston University. He is a graduate of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. Jay is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Jay spends his downtime enjoying public speaking, philosophy, nature travel, yoga, and meditation.
Larry Narachi, IT Program Manager (MAPS PBC)
Larry brings over 20 years of IT leadership to MAPS PBC. He is skilled in strategic planning and execution of IT specific regulatory compliance. Larry has a strong technical background with his work at medical device manufacturers General Surgical Innovations and Kyphon, as well as experience with Software-as-a-Service organizations. Larry is passionate about the mission at MAPS PBC and in his spare time Larry plays drums, rides his road and mountain bicycles and enjoys the outdoors.
Amanda Nary, Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Amanda earned a B.S. in Biology in 2015 from the University of Colorado, Denver. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Amanda worked as a Study Coordinator where she helped to conduct MAPS-sponsored trials in Boulder, CO. She also worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator for an SMO conducting trials focusing on type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and hypertension.
At MAPS PBC, Amanda is currently serving as a Clinical Research Associate, working on Phase 3 MDMA-Assisted psychotherapy studies for patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Amanda is passionate about research and mental health treatment and is thrilled to bring her previous experience working on these trials to the MAPS PBC team. In Amanda’s free time, she enjoys watching movies, playing volleyball, and spending time with her husband and dog.
Shirley Ndukwe, M.S., Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Shirley Ndukwe earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2009 from Georgia Southern University and a master’s degree in organic chemistry in 2013 from the University of Alabama. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Shirley worked as a clinical research associate/monitor at a large-sized Clinical Research Organization (CRO) where she worked on clinical studies in several areas including oncology and schizophrenia. Shirley also worked as a study coordinator and organic chemist where she focused on the synthesis of small molecule organic compounds with unique valencies.
At MAPS PBC, Shirley is currently serving as a clinical research associate, on the Phase 3 studies in the U.S. Shirley is thrilled to be given the opportunity to contribute to the exciting and world-changing research at MAPS PBC. Shirley is excited about the promising research she will be working on as she believes in the potential benefits to patients through the FDA approval of psychedelic medicines in the field of mental health. In Shirley’s free time, she enjoys spending time traveling with her family, trying out different food dishes, and teaching young students about the applications of chemistry in our everyday lives.
Andrew O'Keefe, B.F.A., Video Systems Manager (MAPS PBC)
Andrew J. O’Keefe II earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Picture Editing and Sound Design in 2009 from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Andrew founded a media services company called Amotion, worked as a media producer and archivist at Singularity University, and offered extensive media services to the teams of Android Jones and Tribe 13.
At MAPS PBC, Andrew is currently serving as Video Systems Manager, focusing on facilitating video operations. Andrew has helped create, manage, and distribute large media databases for multiple organizations across various industries. Andrew is passionate about leveraging media in beneficial ways and simultaneously scaling the positive impact worldwide. Andrew strives to help build a better world that works for everyone.
Phillip Perl, Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Phillip earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Columbia University. Prior to joining MAPS PBC, he worked at the University of California, San Francisco as a Research Coordinator on psychedelic-assisted therapy clinical trials. At MAPS PBC, Phillip is serving as a Clinical Research Associate, focusing on Phase 3 clinical trials MDMA-assisted therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is excited to contribute to the effort of making effective treatments accessible to those who need them most. In his free time, Phillip enjoys reading, climbing, traveling, and spending time in nature.
Sarah Pihl, Clinical Systems Associate (MAPS PBC)
Sarah earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2019. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Sarah worked as a Research Assistant in the developmental research labs at UCSC and as an Analytic Intern for a software start-up, MotiveMetrics, in Palo Alto. Sarah's two years of UCSC lab work focused on moral development in infants and she continues to read on the subjects of moral reasoning and cognition in her free time.
At MPBC, Sarah is currently serving as the Clinical Systems Associate. Her responsibilities include: maintaining and expanding the controlled document library, training employees within the quality system, and supporting the Clinical Systems and Quality Manager. Sarah is excited to continue working for MPBC in the hopes of finding an efficacious treatment for PTSD that does not require the long-term use of medicinal products. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys reading, drinking herbal teas, and playing ultimate frisbee in the SF Bay area.
John Poncini, Video and Informatics Systems Associate (MAPS PBC)
John earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering in 2018 from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, John worked as a grader and tutor for the UCSC Biomolecular Engineering Department where he aided students in learning how to use and apply computational biological tools to their research. John also participated in The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, where he and his peers pursued the development of salt tolerant cellulolytic enzymes for second-generation biofuel production.
At MAPS PBC, John is currently serving as a Video and Informatics Systems Associate, focusing on developing software applications and platforms for recording, processing, and delivering video of sponsored MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions. He has played a role in maintaining the security and confidentiality of these sensitive data whilst providing access to authorized personnel in the MDMA Therapy Training Program. John is passionate about applying his knowledge in data sciences, technology, and engineering to clinical contexts with the hope of creating a general purpose platform to facilitate diagnostics and the administration of personalized medicines. In his free time, John can be found brewing beer or mead, playing guitar, or out enjoying the natural beauty of this world.
Dorna Pourang, Clinical Trial Leader (MAPS PBC)
After earning a B.S. in Biology from the University of Florida, Dorna worked on the clinical development of several experimental biologics that received FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation. Her decade of research experience ranges from the pre-clinical phase, to conducting clinical trials directly with patients, to managing clinical operations and development at biopharmaceutical sponsors. She has worked on studies in a variety of therapeutic areas across all phases including oncology, rheumatology, dermatology, and infectious diseases. With this background, she is deeply driven to integrate her work in a way that progressively serves humanity. As a Clinical Trial Leader for investigator-initiated studies at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Dorna is passionate about contributing to the safe advancement of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to profoundly impact her generation and future generations to come. In her free time, Dorna enjoys yoga, music festivals, and exploring nature in Los Angeles.
Sarah Scheld, M.A., Training and Supervision Associate (MAPS PBC)
Sarah earned her M.A. in East-West Psychology program in 2016 from the California Institute of Integral Studies, focusing on psychedelic-assisted therapy and integration approaches. Prior to joining MAPS PBC, Sarah has worked as a somatic counselor specializing in relational trauma work, a program coordinator for ecopsychology trainings, and as a production designer and filmmaker.
At MAPS PBC, Sarah assists in administration and program coordination for the MDMA Therapy Training Program, which educates health professionals and researchers to provide MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in approved settings. In addition to her role at MAPS PBC, Sarah’s speaking and writing focus on trauma-informed approaches to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, and social justice within the psychedelic movement. Trained in the Hakomi method and Somatic Experiencing, she is dedicated to continuing her own education in somatic psychotherapy, trauma resolution, and working therapeutically with expanded states of consciousness. She is passionate about the role of trauma awareness and the skillful use of psychedelic medicines in helping to heal people, communities, and environments. She lives in Berkeley, CA.
Aspen Schwind, Clinical Study Assistant (MAPS PBC)
Aspen earned her B.A in Integrative Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology, as well as a minor in Global Public Health, from the University of California Berkeley in 2019. Aspen is currently working on a Clinical Research Conduct and Management Certification program through UC Berkeley Extension, which will culminate in May 2020. She is enrolled in the course to fulfill the requirements of Association of Clinical Research Professional (ACRP) certification. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Aspen worked at the Emotion, Health, and Psychophysiology Lab at UC San Francisco where she directed lab sessions examining sleep deprivation in romantic dyads, scored HRV data for a study of oxytocin administration to parents of schizophrenic minors, and constructed a lab protocol for Harvard’s inducing optimism study.
Aspen is currently serving as a Clinical Study Assistant at MAPS PBC with an emphasis on duties necessary to execute clinical research trials that include document tracking and filing, file migration, document development, and overall support of the Clinical Operations team. Aspen has a passion for expanding treatment options to disenfranchised populations around the world and is excited to join MAPS PBC to help that vision become a reality. In her free time, Aspen enjoys hiking around the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains, learning to cook, and experiencing new cultures through travel.
Chris Shelley, Ph.D., Training Systems Support Specialist (MAPS PBC)
Chris earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2005 from the University of Bristol, a master’s degree in mathematics in 2011 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a doctorate in mathematics in 2013 from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Chris worked as an Assistant Professor, teaching mathematics and investigating the connections between arithmetic and geometry.
At MAPS PBC, Chris is currently serving as Training Systems Support Specialist, focusing on the IT component of MAPS PBC’s therapy training and supervision programs. He is passionate about computing and software development, and is excited to draw from his academic background to aid in the development of online training resources for MAPS PBC. Chris hopes the work and research conducted by MAPS PBC will help transform the lives of those suffering from PTSD.
Max Tromba, B.A., Video Systems Support Specialist (MAPS PBC)
Max Tromba earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in Film & Television in 2012 from New York University. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Max worked as a media producer on award-winning documentaries including Netflix’s Mission Blue, HBO’s Bright Lights, as well as environmental pieces such as National Geographic’s Before The Flood and Racing Extinction.
At MAPS PBC, Max is currently serving as Video Systems Support Specialist, focusing on helping the video team with maintenance and organization. Max has played a role in several issue-driven campaign films that aimed to illuminate topics such as climate change and mental health. He hopes to use video to influence positive change in a new clinical context. Max hopes the work MAPS PBC does can help alleviate the suffering of those with PTSD. In his free time he enjoys mountain biking, gardening, and exploring California’s natural beauty.
Sara J. Garcia Velazquez, M.D., Medical Monitor (MAPS PBC)
Sara J. Garcia Velazquez, M.D., is a general physician who obtained her medical degree from the University of the State of Michoacan in Mexico in 2012. In 2009, after finishing her medical internship at a state hospital, Sara worked as the lead social service physician in rural areas of Mexico for the Mexican Board of Health. She treated diverse indigenous populations, where she learned the importance of knowing their traditional medicines, including psychedelics, that have been used for generations for treatment of various illnesses and wellness. During this time, Sara used research as a means to improve the infrastructure for patient education, disease screening, and medications for the rural patient population, developing a protocol that outlined how cultural characteristics affect risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes.
Subsequently, in 2013 she moved to the Bay Area, where she studied music at the Pyramind Studios for two years, pursuing her interest in medicine and the healing properties of music. In 2016, she joined the San Francisco Clinical Research Center, where she gained valuable clinical and research experience as a clinical research coordinator and cognitive rater. There she spearheaded protocols in the therapeutic areas of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, cluster headaches, Migraine, and posttraumatic persistent headache.
Sara continued her clinical research journey in 2018 at Science 37, a telemedicine and mobile technology company specializing in virtual clinical trials. As a clinical research coordinator, she assisted with patient eligibility, trial execution, peer, and participant training to bring trial participation directly to the participant's home safely and efficiently. The therapeutic areas covered during this time were chronic degenerative diseases (Type 2 diabetes) and neurology (multiple sclerosis and migraines).
Sara followed MAPS' work through the years as she grew up in a medical research household with the works of Dr. Albert Hoffman, Dr. Stan Grof, and Dr. Alexander and Ann Shulgin on the bookshelves. In 2020 she is honored with the opportunity to join the MAPS PBC team as a medical monitor, applying her experience and passion for biomedical knowledge to bring psychedelic medicine to all patients.
Sara is also a musician, a dancer, a traveler, and an avid hiker. .
Brieta Ventimiglia, M.A., Clinical Trial Leader (MAPS PBC)
Brieta earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a minor in Statistics in 2005 from Winona State University and a master’s degree in Applied Statistics in 2008 from the University of Western Michigan. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Brieta worked as a Clinical Database and Project Manager where she monitored and managed multiple device trials.
At MAPS PBC, Brieta is currently serving as a Clinical Trial Leader for the pharmacokinetics studies and expanded access program. She believes the research conducted by MAPS PBC is essential to provide healing to those who are suffering. Brieta is firmly committed to MAPS/MAPS PBC’s vision and values and is excited to be a part of such a talented team. In her free time, she can be found exploring the outdoors, camping, hiking, or skiing.
Jason Vetrano, SPHR, Finance and Human Resources Specialist (MAPS PBC)
Jason earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Wayne State University, and a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Naropa University. He also recently obtained a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) credential from the HR Certification Institute. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Jason worked as the Business Officer in the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University, where he managed the budget, as well as the human resources functions for the department. At MAPS PBC, Jason is currently serving as Finance and Human Resources Specialist, focusing on contracts, payments and invoicing, and all things related to human resources. Jason was introduced to MAPS by his wife Laura, who is a therapist training in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. He is thrilled to be doing meaningful work at MAPS, and filled with gratitude that there is a part for him to play in helping to advance the mission. Jason lives in Fort Collins, CO, and enjoys spending time with his family and friends, hiking, running, reading, making music, and cooking.
Aliss Wang, Adherence and Supervision Coordinator (MAPS PBC)
Aliss Wang is the Adherence and Supervision Coordinator for MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) supporting implementation of training and supervision programs. Aliss received a B.A. in English and Business from University of California, Riverside 2003, and is finishing her master’s degree (class of 2020) in Integral Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies where she sees psychotherapy clients in practicum. Before joining MAPS PBC, Aliss was a Research Assistant for the Anomalous Cognition with Electromagnetic Shielding Study (ACES), and made a career in high tech Research, Marketing, and Business Development, as well as Media. Aliss has facilitated personal and community development workshops, and both worked and volunteered in festival Emergency Medical Services, harm reduction, the Zendo Project, and Burning Man External Relations. A survivor of traumatic brain injury (TBI), Aliss has lectured at the Association for Transpersonal Psychology Conference, and is passionate about psychedelic research for healing brain trauma and PTSD. A lover of nature,Aliss enjoys hiking, dancing, composing, and writing.
Julie Wang, M.P.H., Ph.D., Clinical Data Scientist (MAPS PBC)
Julie Wang, M.P.H., Ph.D., is a data scientist with clinical research expertise in public health interventions. Her dissertation and research fellowship focused on developing and testing IoT solutions in both clinical and real-world settings to promote, measure, and analyze lifestyle behaviors (i.e., diet, physical activity, and smoking cessation). Dr. Wang completed further training in data science at General Assembly in San Francisco to advance analytic skillsets in working with large and complex mobile/digital datasets. She is enthused by data-driven decision-making and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. At MAPS PBC, Dr. Wang supports statistical analysis of clinical data for research development and regulatory affairs. Education: B.A. in Liberal Arts/ Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution and MPH (Global Health Promotion) at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; Ph.D. in Public Health (Behavioral Science) at UC San Diego in La Jolla, CA; and post-doctoral research fellowship at UC San Francisco in San Francisco, CA. Publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=1qXVwywAAAAJ&hl=en
Arick Wong, Clinical Research Associate (MAPS PBC)
Arick grew up in Chattanooga, TN and graduated from Vassar with a B.A. in neuroscience. Prior to MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Arick has worked in clinical research at a medical device startup, STD/HIV clinics in Seattle and San Francisco, and a sleep and circadian rhythms laboratory in Boston, MA.
At MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Arick is a clinical research associate for the non-Phase 3 clinical studies. He is passionate about making psychedelic medicine accessible and is interested in how psychedelics can advance our understanding of consciousness. Arick enjoys rock climbing and petting every cat in Berkeley.